Editorial: No state easement for sacred Bear Butte
"Last year, Gov. Mike Rounds proposed providing $250,000 to buy an easement around the site to ensure a future without encroaching development.

Lawmakers said no. And they’re saying it again this year.

While the Native Americans are rightfully concerned about development around the sacred site, there is a better option. The Native Americans could purchase the land in question. If the owner isn’t interested in selling, surely a deal could be crafted to offer the tribes the first right of refusal should the owner decide to sell.

That simple deal would keep the state out of the purchase and still guarantee the Native Americans interested in the site would have some control over future development.

Beyond the financial aspect, however, there may be merit to the state taking an interest in Bear Butte. First, it’s a state park. The state should have an interest in the development (or in this case, lack of development) at the state parks. Secondly, Bear Butte is considered a sacred site to the Native Americans. That doesn’t obligate the state to act but it should be part of the conversation as the state considers the future of the area."

Get the Story:
Editorial: State should stay away from easement (The Rapid City Journal 10/2)

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